5 min read
5 min read
Your comprehensive guide to understanding about Vaginismus
This handbook is not a substitute for medical advice or self-administered treatment.
If you are experiencing any sexual health concerns such as Vaginismus, we encourage you to book a call with our sexual heath experts to guide you through your queries and treatment.
Vaginismus is a condition that causes the muscles in the vagina to involuntarily tighten or a vaginal spasm, making sexual intercourse or insertion of a tampon painful or impossible. Most are unable to understand that they may have symptoms of Vaginismus and therefore aren’t able to get the right help they need.
Did you know that there are 4 types of Vaginismus?
Vaginismus is a condition in which the muscles in the pelvic floor involuntarily tighten or spasm, making it difficult or impossible for a person to insert anything into the vagina, including a tampon, penis, or fingers. This can cause pain and discomfort during sexual intercourse or other activities involving the vagina.
Symptoms of vaginismus can include:
Vaginismus is typically diagnosed by a healthcare provider, such as a gynecologist or a sexual health therapist. The diagnosis is typically based on the presence of involuntary muscle spasms in the vaginal area that make any type of vaginal penetration, including sexual intercourse, tampon use, and gynecological examinations, difficult or impossible.
The healthcare provider will typically take a medical history and perform a physical examination, including a pelvic exam. They may also ask about the individual’s sexual history and any past experiences that may have contributed to the development of vaginismus.
In some cases, additional tests, such as imaging studies or blood tests, may be ordered to rule out other conditions that could be causing the symptoms.
It is important to note that vaginismus is often accompanied by other sexual and relationship problems, such as low sexual desire, difficulty with arousal and orgasm, and relationship conflicts. It is important to address these issues in addition to addressing the vaginismus itself in order to achieve a full and satisfying resolution.
There are several possible causes of vaginismus, including:
Psychological factors: Stress, anxiety, depression, past sexual trauma, or other emotional issues can contribute to vaginismus.
Physical causes: Vaginismus can be caused by irritation or inflammation of the vulva or vagina, skin disorders, or certain medical conditions such as vaginitis.
Relationship issues: Vaginismus can be triggered by problems in a woman’s relationship with her partner, such as a lack of trust or communication.
Cultural or societal factors: Some women may develop vaginismus due to cultural or societal beliefs about sex and sexuality that lead to feelings of shame or guilt.
Lack of information or education: Some women may develop vaginismus because they do not have accurate information about their own anatomy or how to have pleasurable sexual experiences.
The treatment for Vaginismus revolves around sex therapy after identifying the exact cause behind it. This would include working on resolving any negative thoughts related to sex or vaginal penetration. In addition to this, experts suggest pelvic floor exercises to gradually help the female get used to penetrative sex.
Here are some treatment options that may be recommended by a healthcare provider:
Pelvic floor muscle exercises: These exercises, also known as Kegel exercises, can help to relax and strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor.
Therapy: Psychotherapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), can help to address any underlying psychological issues that may be contributing to the condition.
Graduated dilator therapy: This involves gradually inserting progressively larger dilators (smooth, tapered plastic or silicone rods) into the vagina over a period of time to help stretch and relax the muscles.
Medication: In some cases, medication may be prescribed to help relax the muscles of the vagina.
It’s important to work with a healthcare provider to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for your specific needs. Vaginismus can be a difficult and sensitive topic to discuss, but know that you are not alone and there is help available.
Treatment for vaginismus typically involves a combination of therapy to address any underlying psychological issues and exercises to help the person with vaginismus learn to relax their vaginal muscles.
Some common exercises that may be recommended as part of treatment for vaginismus include:
Kegel exercises: These exercises involve contracting and relaxing the muscles of the pelvic floor. To do Kegel exercises, imagine you are trying to stop the flow of urine, and then relax those muscles. Repeat this contraction and relaxation several times, gradually increasing the length of time you hold each contraction.
Progressive muscle relaxation: This exercise involves tensing and relaxing different muscle groups in the body, starting with the feet and working up to the head. This can help you learn to identify and control muscle tension in your body.
Vaginal dilator therapy: This involves gradually increasing the size of an object (such as a plastic or rubber dilator) that you insert into your vagina. This can help you learn to relax your vaginal muscles and become comfortable with penetration.